Activities and days out in the Rhins of Galloway
There are over 200 miles of coastline in Dumfries and Galloway and lots of beautiful deserted beaches to choose from close to Kirklauchline Holiday Cottage and nearby Portpatrick. Kirklauchline Holiday Cottage is located in the far west of the region in the Rhins of Galloway. Our cottage is ideal base for walking, hiking, rambling, and mountain biking holidays. Nearby you’ll find great golf courses, sea fishing and boat trips. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring rock pools, looking out for seals, sea birds and porpoises.
Eating out in Portpatrick and the Rhins of Galloway
Connor’s Restaurant (formerly Campbell’s) in Portpatrick is one of our favourites and booking is essential. Enjoy locally sourced food and fresh Portpatrick crab or lobster from the daily catch whilst sitting at your table gazing out across Portpatrick Harbour. Connor’s is a wonderful spot for a leisurely lunch or dinner. The Harbour House, The Crown and The Waterfront in Portpatrick serve great food and real ale in their bars and restaurants with cosy open fires to enjoy during the cooler months and outside sea front seating for the warmer days. Nearby we have The Old Colfin Creamery which is open for lunch, dinner, snacks or even afternoon tea. Booking is essential as this restaurant is very popular.
If you fancy Fish and Chips and other tasty home cooked meals try The Blue Peter Hotel in Kirkcolm and sample their real ales from around the country. Corsewall Lighthouse, in the North Rhins has views towards Arran and the Ailsa Craig and a 5 star restaurant serving fine food and wine.
In Stranraer we recommend Driftwood Restaurant in Agnew Park. Free parking is in the nearby car park on the sea front. Henrys Bay House is another favourite serving fresh seafood and locally sourced produce.
Knockinaam Lodge Hotel offers informal fine dining and is the perfect location for a relaxing lunch. The Fernhill Hotel combines fine dining with panoramic views across Portpatrick.
If you fancy real ale whilst relaxing at Kirklauchline Cottage you can purchase bottled beers from Portpatrick Brewery, on sale in Portpatrick Post Office and available to order directly from the brewery.
Shopping in Portpatrick and the Rhins of Galloway
The RNLI shop and visitor centre is worth a visit whilst in Portpatrick and there are often RNLI lifeboat exercises out at sea for you to watch (Thursday evenings or Sunday afternoons). Portpatrick Lifeboat Week in the summer is a very popular week-long annual event in Portpatrick. There are gift shops in Portpatrick, selling local arts, crafts and produce as well as a post office and general store.
In Stranraer, there are supermarkets (Morrison’s, Tesco and Lidl) and larger stores as well as the smaller local gift shops and jewellers. There is a general store and post office in Sandhead selling essentials, newspapers and even buckets and spades to take to the beach.
Climb a Lighthouse and visit Castles in the Rhins of Galloway
The Mull of Galloway in the South Rhins is Scotland’s most Southerly Point with the Lighthouse you can climb and an Exhibition of Lighthouse History.The Mull of Galloway is home to the only operational Foghorn on mainland scotland and there are regular blasts and demonstrations.
At the Mull of Galloway you can also visit the RSPB reserve and visitor centre to see nesting sea birds live via cliff mounted cameras and enjoy delicious food and drink at the Gallie Craig coffee house.
The former historic town hall in Stranraer is now Stranraer Museum where you can discover Wigtownshire’s past. The Castle of St John is a historic Tower house in the centre of Stranraer built around 1500 and here you can learn about the history of the building and area and enjoy the interactive displays. Climb the spiral staircase on to the roof and take in the view across Stranraer, Loch Ryan and, on a clear day, the views of Ailsa Craig and Arran.
Dunskey Castle is a short walk from Portpatrick village located on the coastal path and the views across Portpatrick village from the castle are amazing.
Rhins of Galloway beaches
The Rhins of Galloway has over 50 miles of stunning coastline to explore. There are many sandy beaches and rocky shores with breath-taking views. The beaches here are very quiet and ideal places to look out for seals, porpoises and dolphins. Here are a few of our personal favourites:
- You can walk from Kirklauchline Cottage to the beach near Knockinaam Lodge Hotel, this takes around 40 minutes.
- Ardwell Bay is a beautiful sandy beach about a 10 minute drive from Kirklauchline Cottage and you are almost sure of being the only people there – visit the bay to watch the seals or to explore rock pools or simply just to relax!
- Port Logan (where the BBC TV drama “2000 Acres of Sky” was filmed and more recently ‘Keepers’ with Gerard Butler) has a stunning stretch of sandy beach with the unique Logan Fish Pond at one end.
- Sandhead beach in Luce Bay has a children’s playground and is a long stretch of 7 miles of golden sand. The “Tigh Na Mara” is the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner whilst enjoying a day out on Sandhead beach.
- Wig Bay is an enclosed sea loch with mudflats, shingle spit and a long sandy bay. A bird watchers paradise with so many species of birds and wildlife to see all year round – wintering divers, grebes, waders and wildfowl. World War 2 flying boats were based at Wig Bay and there are still signs to see here and other places around the loch.
There are lots more beautiful beaches in the Rhins of Galloway and beyond to explore – Larbrax Bay, New England Bay, East and West Tarbet and Drummore to name just a few. All are highlighted on our useful map at Kirklauchline Holiday Cottage, which is used by our guests whilst exploring the Rhins of Galloway.
Gardens in the Rhins of Galloway
The warm air from the Gulf Stream allows plants and palm trees to flourish in this part of South West Scotland. A selection of beautiful gardens are close to Kirklauchline Cottage, including Scotland’s most exotic garden Logan Botanic Garden, Logan House Gardens, Glenwhan Gardens, and Castle Kennedy Gardens. Visit our beautiful Galloway gardens in this south west corner of Scotland during your holiday. Each of the gardens has something unique and special to offer in every season.
Galloway House Gardens are open all year. Near Garlieston in the Machars, this is an outstanding coastal garden, with woodland walks and a large sandy beach.
Walking, hiking and rambling holidays
Tackle Scotland’s longest and most challenging 212 mile coast-to-coast route, the Southern Upland Way. The walk starts from Portpatrick and you can walk and enjoy the stunning views and explore sandy coves along the way. A walk to Killantringan Lighthouse marks the start of the Southern Upland way.
The Mull of Galloway Trail runs from the Mull of Galloway to Stranraer and was officially opened in 2012. It then links to the Loch Ryan Coastal path for 35 miles to Glenapp in South Ayrshire where it then joins the beautiful Ayrshire coastal path.
Walk from Portpatrick village to Dunskey Castle via the cliff top walk. The ruins of the castle that you see today were built in the 16th century. The views across the village from this point are stunning.
There are many walks to choose from with stunning scenery, fresh air and views along the way, including walks from the doorstep. To help you plan your trip to Dumfries and Galloway and Kirklauchline Cottage, you can use our friends at walking-books.com for all your maps and guides including the “Galloway Coast” guide book and the Slow Britain Dumfries and Galloway guide book.
Take a walk on the wild side in Dumfries and Galloway. Here you can see so much wildlife in its natural habitat – deer, hares, buzzards, seals, dolphins and porpoises, geese, red squirrels and a huge variety of birds. Click here to visit our Kirklauchline Holiday Cottage wildlife gallery, most of these images have been taken by our guests who were visited by our wildlife during their holiday.
Inspiring Dumfries and Galloway
This quiet corner of Scotland is an artists and photographers paradise! Dumfries and Galloway is naturally inspiring and the beautiful scenery gives artists and writers inspiration for their creations. Wigtown is Scotland’s national book town and is home to over 20 book related businesses and each year the region hosts Spring Fling which is Scotland’s premier arts and crafts open studio event. Dumfries and Galloway is the perfect destination for photographers and artists looking for wildlife in its natural environment.
The Galloway Forest Park
The Galloway Forest Park is only half an hour’s drive from Kirklauchline Holiday Cottage and has some of the highest mountains in Scotland. The park offers walks of varying lengths and difficulties and you can visit the Wild Goat Park and Red Deer Reserve. Look for otters or take a drive along one of the specially created vehicle tracks (Raiders Road) through the forest. Galloway Night Sky Park has one of the world’s best views of the night sky. As the UK’s first designated Dark Sky Park, a visit to the area is a must for everyone interested in astronomy.
Around Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire
- Ayr is just over an hour and a half away by car and you can find the larger department stores there as well as local shops too.
- Galloway Wildlife Park is home to 150 animals from all over the world.
- Laggan Outdoor for adventure and thrills for all the family.
- Galloway Activity Centre on the banks of Loch Ken for lots of outdoor activities.
- Cream O Galloway for award winning ice cream and visitor centre.
- Cocoa Bean Company for chocolate! Children’s workshops, cafe and visitor centre.
- Isle of Whithorn and the Machars.
- Monreith Animal world set in 12 acres of scenic countryside, meet otters, owls, donkeys and more.
- Ailsa Craig – Just up the Coast towards Ayr is now a bird sanctuary and the granite from the island is used to make curling stones. Boat trips can be taken across to the rock from the port of Girvan.
- Culzean Castle is one of Scotland’s best loved castles and is only a short drive away.
- If you fancy a day trip to Belfast then Stena Line sail from nearby Cairnryan, the new ships sail six times daily and the crossing takes only 2 hours and 15 minutes.
There’s so much to see and do here in South West Scotland, something for everyone. Read our blog about Dog friendly Galloway and how to keep the children amused – Visit our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter @Kirklauchline for what’s on, what to see and our latest photographs.
Contact us or give us a call or text on 07824 770968 to book your next holiday at Kirklauchline Cottage in Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland.